7 May 2020 – COVID19 and Impacts on Food Security in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS


The COVID-19 pandemic and its enormous impacts – on a scale we have never seen before – have drawn attention to the deep and fragile interconnections between people, planet and prosperity.    
Today, while one third of food produced is wasted, some 820 million people suffer from hunger, of whom more than 100 million are already in food crisis. Even before the crisis, two billion people suffered from micronutrient deficiency and two billion are overweight or obese. These malnourished are the people most vulnerable to pandemic and economic dislocation. 
COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity to the state of agri-food systems. Measures to contain the pandemic threaten to disrupt supply chains and bring about an increase in food insecurity.     
As the pandemic and the accompanying economic shocks spread southward around the globe, they will inevitably come to the rural areas, where the vast majority of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people live and where the public resources and institutional supports of public health and social protection are much weaker.  
LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS often are highly dependent on food imports, rely on international markets to secure food and other essential needs, are dependent on high-value agricultural exports and have a large share of the population is involved in agriculture and food production, processing, transportation, and distribution, making them especially vulnerable to the pandemic. Food prices remain a concern in countries that are dependent on food imports that are further inflated by higher transport and transit costs such as LLDCs. The introduction of export restrictions and prohibitions on foodstuffs further increases the vulnerability of these countries. Preserving and improving the food economy must be an essential part of the socio-economic response to the COVID-19 crisis.  
Against this backdrop, a virtual conversation is being organised on 7May 2020 to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 emergency and its impacts on food systems and to identify urgent and coordinated actions to avoid the most disruptive consequences. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to look at the prospects of the international action on food security and nutrition in the recovery phase and how to deliver in the framework of the Decade for Action and in preparation of the 2021 UN Food System Summit. 

To participate, please register here.


Background and AgendaLink
Statement by Malawi on behalf of the group of LDCs Link
Statement by Kazakhstan on behalf of the group of LLDCs Link
Statement by Belize on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States Link
Statement by the High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDSLink
Presentation by FAO - Maximo ToreroLink
Meeting ReportLink

 Partnerships for Accelerated Sustainable Energy Development and Enhanced Resilience Building to climate change in LLDCs 

2019 HLPF side event 

1.15-2.30 p.m., 12 July 2019 

Conference Room F, UNHQ 


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the critical importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships for the achievement of the SDGs in all countries. It is important to harness the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the development of LLDCs to ensure accelerated progress towards the SDGs. This side-event will focus on how to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote implementation of SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy.

Energy access is essential for private sector development, productive capacity building and expansion of trade and it also has strong linkages to climate action, health, education, water and food security and women’s empowerment. Access to sustainable and affordable energy for all (SDG 7) is therefore a key enabler for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is also a key enabler for the achievement of SDG 13 aimed at combatting climate change and building resilience.

Despite the importance of access to energy, the 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) with a total population of about 503 million still face daunting challenges in achieving universal access to energy, energy efficiency and in scaling up renewable energy production and use. Access to electricity in LLDCs increased from 49.5% in 2014 to 56.3% in 2017, however LLDCs still lag behind the world average of 88.8%. The Euro-Asian and Latin American LLDCs have been able to achieve access rates of more than 90%, whilst the African LLDCs have an average access rate of 32%. Although LLDCs experienced an increase in electricity in rural areas between 2014 and 2017, the rural urban gap is still significant. Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking in LLDCs increased marginally from 28.1% in 2015 to 28.8% in 2017 showing that at least two-thirds of the population relies on biomass for cooking, underscoring the urgent need for improved access to clean and modern cooking energy. 2

The Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for the LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024 prioritizes infrastructure development and energy among its six priorities. The VPoA stresses that energy infrastructure and access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy and related technologies are critically important for modernizing information and communications technology and transit systems, reducing delays and enhancing productive capacity to achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development. This helps in addressing the development challenges that they face associated with their geographical disadvantage of lacking direct territorial access to the sea and remoteness and isolation from world markets.

Climate change is having negative impacts on the LLDCs. Although climate change is not a specific priority area in the VPoA, it affects most of the priority areas of the programme, including infrastructure development and maintenance and structural economic transformation. The LLDCs have high vulnerability to the impact of climate change because they are mostly located in dryland regions; some of the LLDCs have a large proportion of their land under mountainous terrain and are impacted by melting of glaciers; and they are too dependent on climate-sensitive resources such as agriculture, livestock, forestry, water, and fisheries. LLDCs are experiencing increased frequencies of natural disasters, water scarcity, extreme weather events, persistent droughts, increased desertification, and flooding including glacial outbursts. The proportion of land area covered by freshwater bodies in LLDCs has declined by 4.7% over the last decade.

Climate change is also affecting infrastructure including transport, ICT and energy infrastructure. The whole value chain of the energy system – generation, transmission, distribution, as well as consumption – is being increasingly impacted by climate events. Droughts and floods significantly affect hydropower generation output. Transmission and distribution lines are at risk of storm and cyclone induced catastrophic damage, which could cause expensive power outages. It is important for LLDCs and their transit neighbors to develop climate change resilient transit infrastructure since transit infrastructure is the lifeline for enhanced connectivity of the LLDCs to the global market.

LLDCs have limited potential to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. They lack both the financial and technical capacities. Reversing alongside mitigating the effects of climate change are crucial to reducing poverty and improving environmental sustainability. It is therefore necessary that support to the LLDCs to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change is enhanced.

Scaling-up and expansion of renewable energy in LLDCs is also important for helping them mitigate the impact of climate change. Renewable energy minimizes carbon pollution and has a much lower impact on the environment. Supporting LLDCs to increase production of modern and renewable energy will help implement the VPoA and address climate change.

Against this backdrop, it is important that partnerships from all stakeholders are harnessed to accelerate sustainable energy development in the LLDCs in particular renewable energy and to enhance resilience building to climate change. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides an immense opportunity for all stakeholders to work collaboratively across sectors and thematic areas, forging partnerships for supporting implementation of the SDGs.

Background Documents 

Concept Note[ENG]
Draft Programme[ENG]
LLDC Policy brief[ENG]
Summary ReportEnglish
Opening Statement by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under Secretary-General and
High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked
Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Sylvia Meier-Kajbic, Department for Multilateral Development Cooperation, Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, AustriaEnglish
Presentation by Mr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Permanent Observer of IRENA to the United NationsEnglish
Statement by H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, Ambassador Permanent Representative of ZimbabweEnglish

MoU signed by Global Good, TÜBİTAK and Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries in Gebze, Turkey

Press Release Gebze, 4 June 2018

At the inauguration of the Technology Bank in Gebze, Turkey, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the Global Good Fund and the Technology Bank to promote access to technologies and increase sciences, technology and innovation capacity for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

This is the first partnership agreement for the new United Nations body. It is a true example of partnership between all stakeholders of the Technology Bank working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for LDCs. 

Ms. Heidi Schroderus-Fox, the Acting Managing Director for the Technology Bank, stressed the importance of this MoU, saying “This framework will accelerate technology development for low-resource settings, and cooperation to develop awareness and educational tools for the promotion of global technology access”.

“The MoU is a sign of strong commitment by the Government of Turkey and Global Good to explore possibilities of partnership with the LDCs through the work of the Technology Bank”, said Dr. Orkun Hasekioğlu, the Acting (Vice) President of TÜBİTAK.

“The tragedy is that too many people in LDCs needlessly suffer and die each year from causes that science and technology can solve.  Global Good is committed to making accessible the innovation needed to change this story”, said Mr. Guy Ellis, Vice President of Global Good.

TÜBİTAK is the coordinating agency for management, funding and conduct of research in Turkey. It acts as an advisory agency to the Turkish Government on science and research issues, and is the secretariat of the Supreme Council for Science and Technology (SCST), the highest science and technology policy making body in Turkey.

Global Good is dedicated to inventing technology for humanitarian impact. Funded by Bill Gates and focused on a shared vision with Nathan Myhrvold, Global Good invents technology to solve some of humanity’s most daunting problems. Global Good does this by collaborating with leading humanitarian organizations, forward-looking governments, research institutions, and corporate and private sector partners that bring our inventions to market.

Media Contact: Ms. May Yaacoub, Public Information Officer, UN-OHRLLS; Tel: 212-963-9798; Cell: 917-653-7343; Email: yaacoubm@un.org

For more information click here 

15 Years Supporting Vulnerable Countries UN-OHRLLS






A message from United Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon 

UN-OHRLLS at 15 -  supporting vulnerable countries towards a sustainable future
Foreword by Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High-Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

Working towards a bright future for vulnerable countries
Ms. Heidi Schroderus-Fox reflects on four years as Director of UN-OHRLLS

Thoughts on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of UN-OHRLLS
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, first Under-Secretary-General and High Representative, UN-OHRLLS (2002-2007)

Message from Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra

Civil Society offer vital perspectives from Least Developed Countries
Gauri Pradhan
International Coordinator, LDC Watch

Perspectives from vulnerable countries

Stories from vulnerable countries

International community review progress of the Istanbul Programme of Action

Supporting Least Developed Countries on the Road Graduation

Small islands plan greater collaboration through Public-Private-Partnerships

Landlocked Developing Countries call on international community to meet global commitments and support sustainable development


Conferences and Meetings LDCs 2016

5-6 December 2016Regional Meeting on Sustainable Energy for African LDCsDar Es Salaam, Tanzania
17 October 2016
HABITAT III Conference
Tentative Programme. Side Event: Harnessing the potential of urbanisation in Least Developed Countries

Concept Note

Side Event Flyer
Quito, Ecuador
24 September 2016Annual Ministerial Meeting on Least Developed Countries (LDCs)UN Headquarters, NY
22 July 2016High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation ForumUN Headquarters, NY
21 July 20165th Biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF)UN Headquarters, NY
21 July 2016Side Event: Adaption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Role of Development Cooperation in Asia and the PacificUN Headquarters, NY
27-29 May 2016Midterm Review conference for the Istanbul Programme of ActionAntalya, Turkey
28 March 2016 Preparatory Meeting of Experts for the Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of ActionUN Headquarters, NY
11 February 2016Special Thematic Event on the Istanbul Programme of ActionUN Headquarters, NY

10 May 2016 – UN conference to review progress of least developed countries during past five years

A United Nations conference is set to undertake a review of progress made during the past five years by the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs), which comprise about 12 per cent of the global population.

Called the Midterm Review conference for the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, it will take place in Antalya, in the south of Turkey, from 27 to 29 May.

Adopted in 2011, the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) is a plan that charts out the international community’s vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs for the next decade.

“[The conference] is important as it is taking place at a midpoint of the decade long Programme of Action, in the first year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the other global development frameworks,” Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, told reporters at apress briefing.

“We are taking stock of the successes but also challenges and lessons learned. It is also an opportunity to capitalize on the shared will of the international community to redouble efforts in accelerating support for the LDCs based on a strong national leadership and ownership,” added the UN official, who is also the High Representative for Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

According to studies undertaken by the United Nations, the general economic growth of LDCs has been positive since 2011, rising by about 4 per cent in 2012 and by 5.3 per cent in 2014.

“The challenge is that it is not shared equally by all,” stressed Mr. Acharya, adding that almost a quarter of the LDCs have a growth rate of more than 7 per cent, which is quite substantial.

The senior UN official noted that progress can especially be seen in the area of human development, access to the internet and telephone networks, infrastructure expansion, access to energy, reduction of child and maternal mortality rates, access to primary education, and women’s representation in parliament.

“But there are also many challenges. Incidence of poverty is still very high in these countries – almost half of the population is still below the poverty line,” he warned, underlining that many of the LDCs see their growth rates rise, but over time aren’t sustainable as many face conflict.

“Looking ahead in the next five years, what we’re really trying to discuss in the conference is what are the challenges that [the LDCs] face, for which they require strong national leadership and ownership, but also what can the international community do about it, in terms of raising resources, in terms of strengthening their institutions, but also in terms of helping them accelerate progress and building reliance.”

Participation is expected at the highest possible political level and will bring together various stakeholders, including representatives from governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society, and academia. The conference will result in an inter-governmentally negotiated and agreed outcome in the form of a political declaration.

According to Mr. Acharya’s Office (OHRLLS), the LDCs represent the poorest and weakest segment of the international community. They comprise more than 880 million people.

Their low level of socio-economic development is characterized by weak human and institutional capacities, low and unequally distributed income and scarcity of domestic financial resources. They often suffer from governance crisis, political instability and, in some cases, internal and external conflicts. Their largely agrarian economies are affected by a vicious cycle of low productivity and low investment. Only a handful has been able to diversify into the manufacturing sector, though with a limited range of products in labour-intensive industries, i.e. textiles and clothing.

The category of LDCs was officially established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly with a view to attracting special international support for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the UN family.

The current list of LDCs includes 48 countries (the newest member being South Sudan); 34 in Africa, 13 in Asia and the Pacific and 1 in Latin America. For LDC country profiles, click here.

Photo: Severely malnourished children from the neighbouring refugee camps are transferred to the in-patient therapeutic feeding centre of Batouri, Cameroon. The centre had only 12 beds before the CAR crisis. Photo: WFP/Sylvain Cherkaoui

16 May 2016 – Civil Society Forum for Least Developed Countries asks international community to stick to its pledges to support poorest countries

16 May 2016, London/Kathmandu: Hundreds of civil society representatives will be gathering in Antalya, Turkey at the end of May telling the international community to fulfil the pledges they made in 2011 to help Least Developed Countries (LDCs) lift their populations out of poverty. The Civil Society Forum, hosted by LDC Watch, an umbrella group for NGOs from Least Developed Countries, takes place in the run-up to the official UN meeting being held to review LDCs progress. It is bringing together hundreds of NGOs from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas to debate how to push forward the development agenda. Gauri Pradhan, LDC Watch International Coordinator, emphasised that “as well as asking the international community to stick to its promises, NGOs from LDCs are urging their own governments to welcome them as partners in building up their countries, and to bring in measures to fight national corruption and for more transparent governance”. While good progress has been made with economic growth of over 5 percentage points in some LDCs, these countries also need support to reduce their vulnerability to economic crises, natural disasters and health pandemics such as ebola. Many are facing immediate threats of climate change, with droughts, floods, increasing desertification and rising sea levels. The Civil Society Forum (26-28 May) is being held in run up-to the UN meeting on LDCs (27-29 May). The CSF will hear from representatives from Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Kiribati, Nepal, Senegal, and Togo, as well as regional organisations such as SEATINI, representing Southern and Eastern Africa, and SAAPE, representing Southern Asia. The UN meeting, entitled ‘the Mid-Term Review’ is examining how LDCs have progressed since the last international meeting in Istanbul (LDCIV) in 2011, where the international community renewed its commitments to support LDCs structural transformation. For more details about the Civil Society Forum, please contact: Prerna Bomzan, prerna@ldcwatch.org or Daphne Davies, from LDC News Service: ldcnewsservice@gmail.com Notes 1. As their name implies, LDCs are the world’s poorest, most under-developed countries. There are currently 48 LDCs, two-thirds of which are in Africa, with the remaining one-third in the Asia-Pacific region, and only one – Haiti -in the Americas. They comprise 12% the global population. 2. The Mid-Term Review, being held in Antalya 27-29 May is assessing progress made on fulfilling the recommendations in the Istanbul Program of Action, drawn up at the Fourth UN Summit to discuss LDCs (LDCIV), held in Istanbul in May 2011.

UN-OHRLLS Internship Opportunities

Internship Opportunities with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

Department/Office : Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
Location : NEW YORK
Job Opening number: 33839
Posting Period: 18 March 2014-2 April 2014

The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001. For more information on the key functions of the Office, please visit our web page http://unohrlls.org/

The application period is open until 2 April 2014. Fill in your application by using Inspira, the UN Human Resources gateway: https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SJ&exp=All&level=0&location=All&occup=0&department=5928&bydate=0&occnet=0

Daily responsibilities will depend on the individual’s background; the intern’s assigned office as well as the internship period. Duties may include, but are not limited to, assistance in drafting and preparing official documents, attending and summarizing conferences and meetings, document, legal and internet research, assistance during conferences, working on web-presentations, evaluation of projects, compiling statistics, media analysis and speech-writing.

Org. Setting And Reporting:
The OHRLLS internship is for two months with an opportunity for extension, pending on the needs of the department. The internship is UNPAID and full-time. Interns work five days per week (35 hours) under the supervision of a staff member in the department or office to which they are assigned.

Renewable Energy Course presented by CIFAL Scotland, UNITAR, University of Strathclyde

CIFAL Graphic
The Renewable Energies for Developing Countries e-learning course aims to enhance the capacity of local decision makers, energy/sustainable development officers to make an informed decision on which renewable energy technologies will meet their own needs or the needs of their countries, communities, villages or neighbourhoods. The programme will provide a comprehensive overview of clean, secure and sustainable technology options for development and offer insights into the management of renewable energy projects, from small scale, through to major projects. Those who successfully complete the course will receive a UNITAR diploma. The course runs from 27 January to 17 March 2014.

More information can be found at the CIFAL Scotland website